Media Acts Events

Media Acts Events

March 2017:

Operative Images PhD course

Course dates: 1-3 March 2017

Venue: Berlin, Humboldt University, Department of Art and Visual History

There is much talk these days about images being performative and endowed with some kind of agency. Increasingly one is reminded that images do things. But how are we to make sense of this “doing”? Digital technologies seem to have brought along a wide range of new image practices where images take on new and more active roles, as exemplified by automated warheads, military drones, surveillance cameras, scientific and medical image-guided operations, computer games, and practices involving location-based applications like Google Street View and Pokémon Go. In these cases images do not represent reality as much as they form part of an operation; they do not present the visible as much as they guide and instruct vision and action.

Recent developments in image theory question the assumptions underpinning established representational accounts of images and seek to rethink images in dynamic and relational terms. This is the case when theorist of visual culture W.J.T. Mitchell asks “what do pictures want?,” when New Materialists speculate about the nonhuman agency of images, and when game studies scholars elaborate on image-related interactivity. The conviction that images have power is anything but new, as reflected in magical and religious traditions as well as various kinds of image prohibitions (both religious and secular) – a recent example of which is the call initiated by Le Monde and other French news channels in the aftermath of the 2016 Nice terrorist attack to avoid publishing the names and photos of terrorists. However, this example seems to address a different kind of agency than, say, the kind referred to by a 1964 article on Op Art stating that these were “pictures that attack the eye.” Are artistic images encapsulated in the white cube endowed with the same kind of agency as images used in utilitarian practices? If not, how do we distinguish between types of agency?

This PhD course explores operative images, their practices and ideas, cultural contexts, historical genealogies, and radius of action. When, where and how do images become operative?

Keynote lectures

  • Horst Bredekamp (Humboldt University of Berlin)
  • Adrian MacKenzie (Lancaster University)
  • Martina Merz (University of Klagenfurt/Vienna)

If you would like to discuss your topic with us, please send a proposal of maximum one page to Andrea Voelker:

Deadline: 2 January 2017



  • Inge Hinterwaldner (Humboldt University of Berlin):
  • Aud Sissel Hoel (Norwegian University of Science and Technology):
  • Jacob Wamberg (Aarhus University):

March 9th Face of Terror seminar at Kosmorama International Film Festival

Screening of Nowhere to Hide (Director: Zaradasht Ahmed) Introdcution and discussion at Nova Kino.

March 21th: Media Acts reading seminar

Sara Brinch: What is media-aesthetics for me? (Details to be annonced) 13.15 at Club 7 /, Buildning 7, room 7514

April 2017

Media Acts reading seminar

Nina Lager Vestberg: What is media-aesthetics for me? (Details to be annonced) 13.15 at Club 7 /, Buildning 7, room 7514

Conference: Photo Archives VI: The Place of Photography.

Christ Church, University of Oxford, April 20-21.

Nina Lager Vestberg is an invited speaker on the topic «The Place of Photography and the Phases of Digitization», presenting her ongoing work on the Digitization and Diversity project.

18 Apr 2023

<b>Previous events</b>

Previous events

27-29 May: Research Genealogies and Material Practices Training School TATE

PhD Course: 27-29 May 2016

Aud Sissel Hoel, organizer and presenter.

Arranged by New Materialism network.

Wednesday, April 6 – Focus: Karen Barad. 

Reading seminar: What is New Materialism #2

PhD candidate Eva Rem Hansen presents Karen Branad’s work Meeting the Universe Halfway as a introduction to a discussion of Barad’s text: "Agential Realism: How Material-Discursive Practices Matter" (Barad 2007) and Dolphijn and van der Tuin’s interview with her in New Materialsm: Interviews and Cartographies (Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, 2012)

Time and place: April 6, 2:00 – 3:30 PM in meeting room 7514

Friday April 22 – Focus: Quentin Meillassoux og Diana Coole 

Reading seminar: What is New Materialism #3

Discussion of interview with Quentin Meillassoux from New Materialsm: Interviews and Cartographies (Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, 2012), before research group member Nina Lager Vestberg presents Diana Coole’s article "Agentic Capacities and Capacious Historical Materialism: Thinking with New Materialisms in the Political Sciences" (2013).

Time and place: April 22, 2:00-3:30 PM in meeting room 7514

April 25: Book launch

Book launch for Anne Gjelsvik and Rikke Schubarts new anthology Women of Ice and Fire

Gender, Game of Thrones and Multiple Media Engagements

The book lauch will be held in Trondheim at DIGS, from 1 p.m. In relation to the launch, there will be an open Game of Thrones seminar. Presentations will be given by Anne Gjelsvik, Rikke Shubart, Mariah Larsson and Johanna Koljonen. For more details about the seminar and the book launch, see the Women of Ice and Fire's Facebook page.

Friday, March 11 – Initial meeting

Reading seminar: What is New Materialism #1

Presentation of Media Acts’ engagement in New Materialism. Discussions of Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin’s interviews of Rosi Braidotti and Manuel DeLanda, published in their anthology New Materialsm: Interviews and Cartographies (2012).

PhD candidate Ingrid Lunnan Nødseth presents the article "Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages" (Ittai Weinryb, 2013). (Presentations and discussions will be in Norwegian)

Time and place: March 11, 2:00 – 3:30 PM in meeting room 7514

4 February: Anne Gjelsvik presents Face of Terror

Anne Gjelsvik: Presentation Face of Terror, Department of Art and Media Studies, Research seminar

PhD course in Audiovisual Research Dissemination

Lillehammer University College, 1-5 February.

Sara Brinch to give two lectures on Research Journalism and Audiovisual Dissemination and Research Development, 5 February.

Guest lecture by Nina Lager Vestberg

Nina Lager Vestberg guest lectures at Encode Engaging Conflict in a Digital Era, University of Tromsø, February 19 on the subject: "Media Ecology Beyond the Metaphor: New, Better, and More Materialist". Click on the title for access to a video recording of the lecture.

PhD course

The Human Sensorium and its Prostheses: Aesthetic Viewpoints, PhD course, Fuglsø, Denmark, January 20-22, 2016. Marshall McLuhan famously claimed that media are “extensions of man”. More specifically, they could be seen as prostheses of the human sensorium and its superstructure in the brain. As has become apparent in the last decades, technological extensions do not merely involve outward projections of pre-given human subjectivities. Instead, both environments and subjectivities are co-shaped through their anchorage in media. Furthermore, media amplify and co-ordinate sense experience and memories far beyond the capacities of the sensorium in its “naked” state. This transdisciplinary PhD course, which is jointly organized by the universities of Aarhus and Trondheim, focuses on artworks and aesthetic theories that examine the interaction between the human sensorium and its prostheses. Key questions include: How are the senses reconfigured, distributed and synaesthetically related in different media? Does art still have special responsibilities and capabilities to foreground sensory dimensions that tend to be downplayed by standardized media? Do new media technologies involve a rupture in human sensoria compared to traditional media? If the answer is yes, has this rupture been sufficiently explored by contemporary artists? Do new media technologies and their exploration in avant-garde art enable new alliances between affective and cognitive reactions?


  • Mark B.N. Hansen (Duke University)
  • Siegfried Zielinsi (Berlin University of Arts)
  • Ina Blom (University of Oslo)


Jacob Wamberg (Aarhus University) and Aud Sissel Hoel (NTNU).

Project presentation: Face of Terror

Anne Gjelsvik presents the project “Face of Terror. Understanding Terrorism from the Perspective of Critical Media Aesthetic” at research seminar for Encode Engaging Conflict in a Digital Era, University of Tromsø January 26

Nordic Society for Intermedial Studies (NorSIS) 2011

The 10th international conference of the Nordic Society for Intermedial Studies (NorSIS) "Media Acts" took place at the Department of Art and Media Studies at NTNU, Trondheim 26th – 28th of October 2011.

In addition to keynote speeches from Sara Danius, Aud Sissel Hoel, Jacques Rancière, Frederik Tygstrup and James Elkins, the programme included 71 papers, a workshop and an installation.

Documentations of the event:

Conference Programme

Photos by our photographer Bård Ivar Basmo  

Reports in the press:

  • ArtSceneTrondheim on Jacques Rancière
  • More on Jacques Rancière and Media Acts ("Om tekst og bilde" - in Norgwegian)
  • ArtScene Trondheim on James Elkins at Media Acts ("Om Barthes og fotografiet" - in Norwegian)